Tell the Story of How Your Firm Is Different
The American Lawyer recently took a look at the trends for revenue and costs revealed in this year’s AmLaw 200 data. Their analysis won’t surprise any leaders of middle market firms that fall into the second hundred category.
Generally speaking, the further up firms are on the list, the more their revenues grew and the less their costs went up. But second-hundred firms saw less robust revenues and much higher costs. If these trends continue, the chasm between the “haves” and the “have lesses” is going to get ever wider.
Middle market firms have long made the case that they can do everything the biggest firms do, but at slightly lower rates and with more “hands-on” service from their top partners. And the business model of course dictates the communication strategy. The AmLaw200 firms have traditionally followed the lead of the top 100 in how they market and brand themselves. Their implied (and sometimes even direct) messaging is one of reassuring clients that they’re “just like BigLaw!”
But, given current market conditions, middle market firms can only keep up with this model for so long. It costs a lot to recruit and retain lawyers across the whole spectrum of business-practice areas. Instead, if these firms focus more on profitability than just overall revenue, they’re more likely to be able to organize/position themselves as “boutiques” or niche players, specializing in one area or set of areas and delivering that work really effectively and without discounting its costs. In order to succeed, their marketing must also break with the “same and just as good” model and embrace a narrative about how they are “different and better.” To change the story about your firm, you need marketers and consultants who are more likely to think entrepreneurially and creatively, helping you communicate this new approach from the strategic level all the way down to your day-to-day work with clients. Call us—we can help!